PhD student position: A novel electro-driven separation process using functionalized electrodes for resource recovery from water

 Wetsus  Leeuwarden
Water treatment technologies aim to improve the quality of water. High-value nutrients, like nitrate and phosphate ions, often remain present in waste streams. Electro-driven separation processes offer a sustainable way to recover these nutrients. Ion-selective, polymer-based electrodes are a strong candidate to achieve selectivity in such processes.

Research challenge
The main challenges to bring electro-driven separation processes forward in the direction of ion-selectivity are:
  • to balance selectivity and reversibility, which will be addressed by surface chemistry and chemical tuning of the polymer-based electrodes;
  • to understand and control ion transport in the electrodes, which will be studied by electrochemical approaches, combined with ion sorption and transport modelling.
We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious PhD candidate who will fabricate and characterize new electrodes to apply them in electro-driven ion adsorption processes, aiming at ion-selective removal and recovery. The project will deal with materials science (organic and inorganic), surface chemistry, ionic interactions, and multicomponent transport phenomena.

The candidate requires a Master's degree in chemistry, chemical engineering or equivalent with strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. The candidate is motivated to work on fundamental aspects of ion transport processes, combined with a molecular mind-set.

Our offer
Doing a PhD in the Netherlands takes 4 year.
You earn a salary to make a living.
In year 1 the salary is €30.674,  in year 4 it is €39.214 before tax.
The amount of paid holiday days is 35/year.

The PhD project is part of the ERC Consolidator program of Dr. Louis de Smet, and will be conducted within the laboratories of Wetsus in Leeuwarden, within the research theme of Capacitive Deionization. The DOW Chemical Company (NL) and Voltea BV (NL) are part of this theme. The PhD project will be carried out in close collaboration with Wageningen University & Research, where 3 PhD students will work within the same program.
Promotor: Prof.dr. Han Zuilhof (Wageningen University, Organic Chemistry).
For more information please contact Dr. Louis de Smet ( or Dr. Maarten Biesheuvel (

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Application deadline: 12 May 2017 5PM (Dutch time)

How to apply:
Outstanding and highly motivated candidates are asked to provide the following information:
  • Motivation letter
  • CV specifying:
    - Doctoral study entrance qualification (name master degree)
    - List of internships (subject, name supervisor, grade, etc)
    - Publications (if applicable)
    - Scientific interest, complementary qualifications, achievements
    - Other relevant information
  • Grades (with explanation on the grading system)
  • Copy of master diploma or letter of university that master diploma will be obtained soon
  • At least one letter of recommendation and contact information of the referee(s)
Use the apply button to send your application. You find the apply button at the end of each project published.

You can only apply once. You are asked to rank your preference for a research project. A maximum of 3 preferences can be given.
The recruitment will proceed based on your first preference. If we think you are more suitable for your 2nd or 3th preference, we will inform you.

Please combine all documents in one single attachment.

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For more information please contact Dr. Louis de Smet ( or Dr. Maarten Biesheuvel ( )
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 5.9

About Wetsus

Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology, is a network university. In Wetsus 22 universities from all over Europe cooperate on a research program which is defined by 105 partners from industry. Wetsus creates a unique environment and strategic cooperation for development of profitable and sustainable state of the art water treatment technology. The inspiring and...

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